Monday, September 19, 2016

Why Is Marriage Ideal?

The Torah permits taking an Eishes Yefas Toar - a non-Jewish women that one sees at war, bringing her home and having relations with her. The gemara makes it clear that this is only a concession to human weakness - לא דברה תורה אלא כנגד יצר הרע. It is just to placate one's yezter hara but should ideally be avoided. 

The question is, why doesn't the gemara say that marriage is ALSO a concession to human weakness, at least the physical aspect of marriage. Think about it, we are told not to touch a female, not to look at a female [in a lustful way] not even to THINK of a female. Then we are told to live with one in the most intimate way. The Torah commands every Jewish husband to fulfill his obligation of Onah. What is Onah? The Torah doesn't explan but the Rabbis do. Basically, it means that whenever the wife wants it the husband is commanded to give it to her. This is seemingly OOD. Why doesn't the Torah at least tell the women not to want it??! When the man wants it then the wife has a mitzva to give it to him. Here also, we don't find instructions for the wife to tell her husband that it is not befitting a Ben Torah to be interested in such things. We also don't find that Chazal told the woman [as so many wives do] to tell the husband "What - you don't take out the garbage and you expect me to be with you!! No way!!!" That is a sinful statement. She is supposed to happily agree with a smile and true delight. [He should also take out the garbage...]

The gemara also recommends different Onah's for people in different professions. In addition, every time the husband goes on a trip, he must first be with his wife. Also odd. Shouldn't we, like, try to minimize this animalistic behavior as much as possible??  

The answer is the Western culture has taken the true meaning of marital intimacy and distorted it completely. It is NOT an animalistic act. It is the deepest possible expression of love between two people. The Torah commands us to do it even if we aren't feeling like doing it JUST LIKE we put on tefillin even when we aren't feeling like it. The Torah requires us to have spousal togetherness because without it the relationship is quite doomed. 

Marriage counselors will tell you that two of the most common problems between couples are money and intimate relations. Being with one's partner is NOT JUST about satisfying one's chemically induced desires. There is a deep psychological need that is filled when it is a successful union and conversely a deep psychological deficit is created when either the man of the woman is not satisfied. 

The gemara says that the definition of Shalom Bayis is the couple having relations. So we erase the name of Hashem in order that the suspected Sotah woman should be examined and if found innocent she can have Shalom Bayis by being with her husband once again. 

The gemara at the beginning of Kiddushin says that the Mishna uses the word דרך in describing the ways to get married even though this term only applies in the pasuk to ביאה and doesn't apply to כסף and שטר. Why? Answers the gemara that כסף and שטר are also for the sake of ביאה. Is that really what marriage is about???

Yes and no.

Yes - but not exclusively. It is central and if healthy and mutually satisfying, chances are that the couple will be happy. If there are problems, then it is both a סימן [indication] and a סיבה [cause] for serious problems outside the bedroom. Since most of the marital life takes place out of the bedroom, it is worth the couples while to make sure that they establish the best possible circumstances for the marriage to flourish. 

Catholic priests are not allowed to marry. According to a 2012 study I saw, a "sizable minority" ADMITTED [besides, possibly, the sizable amount who won't admit it] to having sexual relationships [some with men, others with women and quite a few with children ימ"ש] in addition to 30 percent who admitted to releasing their sexual tension without a partner. 

The Torah Hakdosha doesn't require us to live in such an unhealthy way. We are commanded to get married [the younger the better] and to elevate the physical part of our lives in such a way that the שכינה הקדושה dwells with us at the very time when we are involved in behavior which the Western world sees as purely animalistic behavior.

Regarding marriage there is no דברה תורה כנגד יצר הרע. It is לכתחילה שבלכתחילה to get married. Our job is to make sure that the relationship always remains with the boundaries set by the Torah and is never transformed into something self serving. 

Intimacy is not just a spiritual necessity but also fulfills very deep seated emotional needs. He or she who is not fulfilled is also going to suffer from emotional distress which will have a deletorious affect on all aspects of life.     

See what Rav Dessler says: